Not Baking

So yesterday (Sunday) we had a PPK vegan potluck. We gorged ourselves and had a good time but for me the stand out were the no-bake cookies that lindsayh brought. There was a ton of food and it was all amazing, but for some reason these simple cookies were amazing. She had used this recipe as a template subbing oatmeal for the bran. 

I simply had to make these. So today I walked down to the Pammel Grocery. Alas, you have to spend 8 dollars if you have a debit/credit card which I was forced to use since I was seventy five cents short. So I ran around the store getting snacks (khatta meetha), black salt, and coconut – which I went to get in the first place. 

Now home I made no-bake cookies with barely a recipe in sight. But here’s a rough idea.

-6 ounces pitted, chopped dates (I used the mash of dates from the Pammel)

-1/4 cup peanut butter (or any nut butter)

-1 tsp. vanilla

-roughly 2 tbsp water or enough to get things to whir.

-2 1/2 tbsp. dutch cocoa

-1 1/4 cup oatmeal

-1 cup coconut

Mix up the dates through the cocoa in a food processor until smooth. Add coconut and oatmeal and continue to mix until everything is homogenous. 

Mix into balls or pack into a container (the lazy way – which I used) to make bars.

Ta-da!

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Sugar Rush

I finally got around to getting my camera back from my sister. Which is convenient because it had pictures from my niece’s birthday party on it. Like the finished picture of the cake!

I also forgot that I made little pop-tarts with the leftover pie crust.

Here’s the brownies I made, and ate too many of. These are perfect, and are testers for the Cookie Book.

And finally, the peach walnut bars I veganized from epicurious. 

Here’s the rough recipe. The crust turned out a little oily for me. So I’m posting the recipe as I will make it next time.

Peach Walnut Bars

     ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold EB
  • 1 tablespoon whiskey (Vodka would work too. Or water for that matter)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup peach or apricot preserves
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

 

preparation

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with 1 sheet of foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 opposite sides, then grease foil.

Pulse flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Add whiskey and vanilla and pulse just until clumps of dough form, about 30 seconds. Add water if necessary to get dough to form a clump.

Press three fourths of dough evenly onto bottom of pan, then spread with preserves. Sprinkle evenly with walnuts and crumble remaining dough on top.

Bake until top is golden brown and preserves are bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack. Lift from pan by grasping both ends of foil.

CAKE!

With all the cookies I bake I sometimes get a hankering for something a little different. Something that takes a bit of effort. Something that involves copious amounts of frosting. And finally something that will assure me of not forgetting my frosting skillz acquired so painstakingly in Iowa City.

Of course I could bake a cake for no reason, but where’s the fun in that. So instead I whipped up a celebratory cake for my bike-ridin’ official pancake and coffee maker, whom I happen to share a bed with. He did a 100K gravel bike race on Sunday and because he endured through such shitty weather (rain, hail, snow, cold, etc) I thought he needed a treat. Plus I’m baking the cake for my goddaughter’s fourth birthday in a few weeks so I wanted to practice.

Enter Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. This tasty little concoction is one layer of peanut butter cake, one layer of banana cake, ganache in the middle, chocolate buttercream all over, and more ganache on top. The little truffle looking things on top are in fact truffles. Cake truffles made from the first pb cake I made before I put parchment in the bottom of the pans (I flipped out a half cake instead of the whole one I wanted).

The cake truffles are actually the wheels on bike I piped on with the extra frosting. Money Shot:

We’ve now devoured about half the cake with very little help from our roommate. We are cows, happy cake eating cows. And this is why I love him so so so much.

The ganache was just 1/2 c. soy milk microwaved until boiling. Then pour in 8-10 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips and let it sit for a few minutes. All you have to do is stir it up until emulsified, let it cool, then eat with a spoon. Well or actually do something constructive with it like fill a cake or make truffles. Speaking of truffles. The cake truffles were simply half a baked peanut butter cake that was left out overnight to stale and the remaining ganache all thrown into a food processor and pulsed until it formed a ball. Chill in the freezer for a while, roll into balls, and cover in something (cocoa, walnuts, coconut, tempered chocolate, the list goes on).

Brownies

Despite the fact that I would rip the head off of anyone who tried to make me do sterotypical female chores circa the 1950’s, I do enjoy some of them. Today I washed dishes by hand, made the bed, and mixed up a batch of brownies for my sweetheart. Just because. But like I said, I find it relaxing and enjoyable. God help the poor soul who tries to make an independent woman do household duties in the same mindset of 60 years ago.

 

I don’t have my camera with me, but maybe sometime in the future I will post of a picture of these delightful brownies. Until then the recipe will have to do. Along with the knowledge that if I was left alone I would eat the entire batch.

Gooey fudgy brownies

 

    1 cup sugar (I used refined and demerera mixed)

    1 cup AP flour

    1 cup whole wheat flour

    2/3 cup dutch process cocoa powder

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1 banana, mashed

    1/2 cup canola oil

    1 cup soy milk

    1 teaspoon vanilla

    2 tbsp. maple syrup

    2 handfuls chocolate chips

 

Directions:

 

Mix wet and dry separately. Add wet to dry and mix to combine. Add chips, spread in a greased 9×13 pan. (a 9×9 would make a really thick gooey brownie)

Bake at 350′ for about 20-25 minutes. As soon as the edges are dry and the center is set they are done. Brownies are one of the wonderful treats that are better when underbaked.

Cupcakes, Oh My

So today is my friend’s 23rd birthday. And living up to my role as baker extraordinaire I made the sweet treats. My first year at ISU we invented the infamous mango tangos. A mix of coconut rum and Naked mango juice (because its healthy you know). So I invented the mango tango cupcake. 

The recipe is a modified margarita cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World.

1/4 c. pureed mango (pureed with just enough water to whir)

1 c. coconut milk

1/4 c. oil

2 tbsp. rum

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 c. granulated sugar

1 1/3 c. flour

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with awesome liners, plain will do if you must. Whisk mango through sugar in a large bowl. Sift in remaining ingredients and whisk until combined until batter is smooth. Fill liners and bake for 20-22 minutes. Or until toothpick comes out clean. These little beauties were filled with mango pudding and topped with a half batch of vegan fluffy buttercream that was mixed with 1/3 c. mango pudding. And toasted coconut, decorative and tasty.

 

The mango tangos are filling with a mango pudding concoction too. See…

Basically it was the left over mango puree(approx. 1 1/2 c.) mixed with about 1/3 c. sugar, 2 tbsp. cornstarch, and maybe 1 tsp. lemon juice. Cooked in the microwave for two minutes or until thickened. Pop it in the fridge to cool and set and them stuff those little suckers. 

 

Because 12 cupcakes just doesn’t feed very many, and because my friend is known for her love of cupcakes, I also made chocolate cupcakes stuffed with peanut buttercream. Again I turned to my culinary heroes, Isa and Terry, for ideas. Just the basic chocolate cupcakes with dutch process cocoa. And the other half of the buttercream mixed with 1/3 c. peanut butter.